“ Castle Boulevard, Nottingham. NG1 1FB. tel = 0115 915 3600 „
Brewhouse Yard Museum also known as the Museum of Nottingham life, is tucked away on the outskirts of the city centre in a scenic little courtyard. Next to the museum is a pub, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which lays claim to being the oldest inn in England, and at the top of a sandstone cliff, towering above the museum itself, is Nottingham Castle.
The museum itself, housed in a row of 17th century houses, is entereds through a small gift shop . Admission is cheap - 5.50 for adults, and £4 for children and OAPs, although Nottingham residents can get free entry is they provide proof of residency . Considering that the ticket cost includes entry to the Schoolroom Museum next door, and to the Castle and grounds within 7 days, this is very good value.
The museum is a series of small rooms, each depicting an espect of life in Nottingham over the last few centuries . One room, for example, is furnished as a standard victorian home, with a mangle, a dresser displaying crockery,a large family bible and some comfy chairs . The settings are all quite realistic, although they do look a little dusty and unloved.
Whilst many of the rooms are furnished as ordinary homes, there is also a row of mocked up shops, and these my daughter really found fascinating, especially the old fashioned grocery shop, selling chocolates and sweets in old fashioned packaging. We made a little game out of seeing how many recognisable brands we could find.
One area that was less succesful with my daughter was the small air raid shelter - complete with loud air raid siren, and the sound effects of explosions . Sadly, due to my daughter finding the sound effects pretty scary, we didn't spend a lot of time in this room, which was really a shame as there was a video presentation playing that seemed like it might have been very informative. This room was actually a cave carved into the cliff face , and in another room you can learn how the caves might have been formed, with illustrations showing how Nottingham used to look years ago - including when the river ran through the city itself!
I found this museum very interesting - as a long time Nottingham resident I still felt I had learned new things from the visit, and I enjoyed that some of the exhibits were interactive, making them a little more interesting for children. I do think the museum needs a little TLC though, as some of the exhibits looked a little unloved and dusty, giving an otherwise excellent educational museum a rather run down and unloved appearance.
If you're stuck for something to do in Nottingham, I would certainly recommend a visit to this museum . It's not too far a walk from the main bus stops, or from the train station, and is clearly signposted throughout the town, with many places to eat and shop nearby . It won't take you more than a morning to go round, so make the most of the combined ticket and take in the castle too .
4 stars - one off for being a bit dusty and unloved looking .
The Museum of Nottingham Life, at the Brewhouse Yard Museum is centrally situated in Nottingham itself, just a few minutes walk from the Broadmarsh shopping area and Nottingham Castle. I was attracted to the museum most recently via a link from the Nottingham City Council Website. The museum appealed to me as it was described as a museum of Social History over the last 300 years, and this was in reference to Social History within Nottingham homes in particular.
Entry to the museum is a very reasonable £3 per adult with concessions for children and groups. Family tickets are available for £7 to include three children, and Nottingham residents holding a Library and Leisure card can obtain free access on weekdays. Although a resident, I do not hold a library card and therefore contributed my £3. However as this also gives access to Nottingham Castle and the visit to either attraction can be made within a week of the first purchase, the entry fee is more of the order of a small donation, than a fee that would prevent anyone from entering.
The Museum itself is situated adjacent to the intriguingly named Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, which claims to be the oldest inn in England and dates back to 1189AD. There is a large number of caves within the city of Nottingham, and the caves in the area around the castle would have been ideal for brewing for the inn, as well as being used as homes for horses in days gone by. The Museum itself is housed in a row of old cottages which are adjacent to the pub and date back to the 1600s.
Despite the fact that the pub was absolutely packed today, and its visitors were spilling out into the grounds in front, the museum itself was reasonably quiet. There was no queue to pay the £3 admission charge in the Museum Shop. I didnt take a particularly long time browsing the shop, and indeed it is not particularly big, but I notice it did contain the normal range of museum gifts, although more unusually, it was actually possible to leave the museum without ending up back in the Shop!
The museum itself is a combination of room recreations, shop recreations, and display cabinets/information boards. The rooms are spread out over three floors within the building, and it was surprisingly large, given the impression I had from the buildings from the outside, and the fact that £3 admission doesnt normally buy a lot! Unfortunately the 1st and 2nd floors are not accessible for wheelchair users. There is a video (which I did not watch) which is intended to give wheelchair users a flavour of the upstairs displays.
The museum concentrates on the last 300 years or so of Nottingham life (which is probably not that dissimilar than life in any other city). There are over 26000 artefacts which have been donated and collected by the museum in its 27 year history. As this is a Social museum, the main displays are related to Community Life, Domestic Life, Personal Life and Working Life.
I personally prefer this kind of museum as I find it is much easier to relate to the People, especially when compared with a museum consisting of pots discovered 5000 years ago (Ill never make a historian!). What was especially encouraging about this museum is that there was a sign on an early display cabinet (in a typical Kitchen) encouraging people to Touch, feel and smell.
I thought there was a great balance between room recreations, including a childs bedroom, and a kitchen/parlour, several shop recreations, which look like they were lifted straight from the shop, and display cabinets, together with information boards giving further insight into the items they contained. The interior of the Chemists shop was particularly intriguing and given the origin of that big blue oval, I had to wonder how close this shop would have been to the original store in Goose Gate itself.
This museum was abundant in items, and its layout made it easy to drift back and imagine how life might have been like in the last 300 years. In particular I noticed that people certainly loved the items they can relate to more easily, such as the development of the telephone, the cabinets showing early DHSS equivalent documents, the stores with products and brand names which are mainly still familiar to us today, and even the early technologies of the 1970s/1980s, such as the very expensive early pocket calculators and the dreaded ZX81!
It might not be the most ideal destination for younger kids, but for most 8yrs and above, I believe it would be suitable. There are information boards designed for children and information sheets and the fact that there is emphasis on play should mean they are not too bored.
It certainly made me reflect how much life had changed in the last 60 years since the end of the Second World War. The whole museum was littered with posters that were around at the time, including a focus on food and no waste. What a difference to todays society.
The layout was very intriguing, with several displays housed within the actual caves themselves..just like the rooms in the Oldest Inn in England - next door.
For £3, I think this museum offers exceptional value. I have not got time to go back and visit the Castle within the next seven days (Scotland calls). However I would have no qualms paying my £3 a second time on another day. When you consider the history of the area, and the amount that has been fitted into such a small space, in a little corner of the city, I think a trip is essential.
The museum is situated just off Castle Road, which is Adjacent to Maid Marian Way and north of the Nottingham Canal. There are special events held regularly at the museum, including a forthcoming 1940s Knees up event, to be held on May 1, 2006. There is indoor and outdoor tables at the adjoining Inn, or alternatively there is plenty of open space and benches to relax and enjoy some food and drink after your visit.
As for the mystery surrounding Nottinghamshires most famous resident, you wont find anything out about HIM in the Brewhouse Yard Museum!
Opening hours 10am until 430pm each day with closures over Xmas and New Year. I think you would need 1-1.5 hours for your visit.
Museum of Nottingham Life at
Brewhouse Yard Museum
Tel: 0115 915 3600
A short walk from the centre of Nottingham is the Brewhouse Yard Museum. This is a wonderful museum depicting life in Nottingham over the past 300 years. The museum is set in a row of five 17th Century cottages and is a collection of rooms with each one depicting a different aspect of local life. The rooms are set out as original rooms from Nottingham homes, or as local shops such as a chemist, a cobblers, a pawnbrokers, a music shop and a hairdressers. The items in the rooms and shops are all original and are set up in such a way to be totally realistic. In the living room you can even smell the coal burning on the open fire. At the back of the houses the rooms have been extended into the sandstone caves which depict how the local people used to use the caves for storage and living in. The whole museum is very interesting and often you find yourself thinking, we had those when I was a young lad. The museum is over three floors and in total there are about 30 different rooms that are set out in different scenarios. Also next door to the cottages is a separate building with a Victorian school room, with lift up desks, ink wells and of course a cane. Also in this building is an old toy shop with many great traditional toys and original games displayed in glass topped drawers. During the week admission to the museum is free and at weekends and Bank Holidays admission is £1.50 for adults and 80p for children. In front of the museum is a large grassed area where you can have a picnic, with plenty of seating, a play area and toilets. Some weekends there are special events held on this grassed area. There is a small shop in the museum selling gifts and souvenirs. Overall the museum is very interesting. There are a lot of hands-on exhibits in the rooms, which the children enjoy. Also you will hear older visitors reminiscing about Nottingham and their youth and often some of these discussions really add to value of your visit. I can highly recommend a visit to this museum.